Garfield High School graduate Whitney Mercilus is heading to the National Football League.
Mercilus, a defensive end at Illinois, decided to pass on his senior season to enter the 2012 NFL Draft after leading Division I college football with 16 sacks as a junior.
Mercilus’ 2011 season also included setting an Illinois and Big Ten record for forced fumbles with nine. His 22.5 tackles for loss this season were tops in the Big Ten and second in the nation.
He was rewarded for his impressive season by earning first-team All-American honors and receiving the Hendricks Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive end.